Developer of Gay Hotel Considers Downsizing After Neighborhood Complaints

By Serena Dai on May 14, 2013 6:18am 

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 The Out Hotel Chicago is proposed for 3343 N. Halsted St.
Gay Hotel Proposal
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BOYSTOWN — The developer of a planned LGBT-focused hotel on Halsted is looking into ways to downsize after neighbor complaints about the building's size.

Ian Reisner of Parkview Developers is trying to build a Chicago location of his luxury New York hotel, The Out NYC, a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender-focused but straight-friendly concept. But the planned 10-story building at 3343 N. Halsted St. has faced opposition from residents who say it's too big.

Reisner and architect Jackie Koo are now back at the drawing board to look for ways to cut floors without eliminating too many of the 112 boutique hotel rooms. The original design had 12 stories and a dark façade, and Reisner and Koo downsized to nine floors with the 10th floor set back from the front after recommendations from local leaders, they said.

"People have screamed at me that this is still uncomfortable," Reisner said.

Reisner told neighbors last week that they are brainstorming ways to modify the height and shape of the building to appeal to neighbors, including possibilities of eliminating floors. But any downsize must maintain a certain amount of hotel rooms, or the $30 million project will not be economically viable, Reisner said.

"It’s a compromise in the works," he said.

The building was designed to not look "monolithic," Koo said — like suitcases stacked up on each other rather than a big box. 

"We made a real effort to break down the mass," she said.

Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) has long said Lakeview needs more hotels but that designs must fit into the community. Bennett Lawson, Tunney's chief of staff, said the neighborhood could use three to four boutique hotels. The Ricketts family also is planning to build a boutique hotel near Wrigley Field.

Reisner and local business leaders hope a hotel will anchor Boystown businesses and revive the neighborhood as a destination. The plan also includes a health club, a restaurant with Art Smith and 2,500 square feet of conference space. He hopes to open in 2015. 

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